NZ Wai Iti Surgery

James Street: NZ Wai Iti Surgey (England: Golden Ale: 5.8% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy lemon, small white to meringue head that leaves large sud circles.

Nose: Lightly grassy. Wheaty. Dried passion fruit.

Body: Pineapple. Custard cream centre. Juicy peach. Light resin. Sweet fruit syrup. Palma violets. Bamboo. Lemongrass. Kiwi.

Finish: Light hop bitterness. Clean gooseberry and green grapes. Lemongrass. Dry passion fruit. Late on there is tart mouth filling grapefruit and palma violets. Dry hop character and bamboo.

Conclusion: Back to the cask. Here we have a good complement for a summers day with an NZ hop golden ale. Now I’ve not run into these hops before, and from this beers example, I must say they bring a very interesting game.

To me a NZ hop says gooseberry, grapefruit and pineapple – tart and refreshing. Something perfect for a summer beer, and this definitely brings that. The real ale character soothes it down, takes away the sharp edges and just leaves a refreshing easy drinking tartness. However, that is not all the hops bring. There is a slight resinous and palma violet character that I would normally associate with the noble hops of the czech pilsner. These leave a slight hop oil feel on the way out and give it a touch of the pils easy drinking feel. Then there is an almost sorachi ace like lemongrass, or just plain grassy character, with light bamboo notes. Very natural grounding notes, lightly done to add a bit of texture and contrast.

Am I done yet? Nope. Right in the middle of the beer is a very American hop style juicy peach and fruit syrup sweetness mixed with green kiwi fruit, it makes for a cresting high point to what the beer has been building up to. This really is like a world tour as imagined using only NZ hops. Brilliant refreshing with lots to find and enjoy.

So, I am enthusiastic. Any issues with the beer then? Well, the aroma is a bit muted and doesn’t offer much. I don’t know if it just needs more dry hopping or what, but it could do with something to give more to drag you in. Once you have that first sip though all problems vanish. This is a lovely fruity, summer fresh, big and well rounded beer. Again the James Street Brewery show why their limited run beers are where they really shine. An excellent beer.

Background: NZ Wai Iti is a new hop – I presume from New Zealand because of the name. Don’t think I’ve run into a beer with it before. It is also made with Dr Rudi hops, also NZ, but they don’t mention that in the name. I saw a tweet saying this was on at Bath Brew House a few weeks ago. By the time I got to the pub it was all gone, so when I found it back on again, I quickly grabbed a pint for review. Gave me a chance to do a cask real ale review again. Yay. Anyway James Street Brewery is the brewery of out local Brewpub Bath Brew House, and while there mainstay beers are only ok, their one offs are generally absolutely great.

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